Friday, July 31, 2009

The Three Amigos Make Their Debut...

This summer I have helped (very sporadically) one of Stephen's old co-workers, Jenny, with her triplets. Yes, triplets. Jenny was Dr. Elrod's assistant. From what I hear, she ran the show at the office - she knew everything about everything. She was definitely loved and it was a very sad day when she left. But she is now a proud mommy of triplets - Maddux, Nola, and Luce.

Typically when I help her - I show up at 10 am for their second feeding of the day. I help feed them, play with them, change diapers, etc. I also help her with the third feeding - and then head home. I have only gone about three times to help her because of scheduling conflicts. I wish I could have helped her more - but she has it down to a science. It is incredible. And for the most part, she is by herself all day with the kiddos. Their feedings are now four hours apart, so that gives her a little more time in-between. And they are sleeping through the night - which definitely helps.

Last Wednesday, I helped her take the triplets to Elite. This was the first time she was able to take the triplets to the office and meet everyone.

I met at her house at 10 am to help feed the little ones, change them, and get them all ready to go. I was shocked that we had fed all three, changed their diapers and clothes, loaded them up, and on the road by 11:30. For those of you that have one child, an hour and a half seems like a long time - but for triplets that's a feat - and there were two people working on the whole process.

We got to Elite by 12:15. I was pushing Maddux and Nola in the stroller and Jenny was carrying Luce (she is the lightest) in her carrier. They have a three-baby stroller, but we would had to move the babies out of their carriers to the stroller. It would have taken quite some time. And the stroller was HUGE and LONG - not very accessible.

Everyone at Elite loved them and were amazed how good Jenny looked after three babies - she looks like she never had a child. Everyone was asking questions because, like me, they can't comprehend how someone could handle three babies all at once.
Here are some more pictures from the visit... People were moving, so some of the pictures look blurry or our camera just stinks. Not sure which one.

Jenny getting ready to take Maddux out of his carrier.
That is the stroller I pushed around for the day.
It was perfect because we just had to set their carriers in there and they were ready to go.
Dr. Elrod with Luce.

He didn't get to spend much time with the babes because he had to go to surgery.
His face lit up when he saw Jenny.
I'm glad we made it time to see him - even if it was just for a few minutes.

Nola Bear.
She's the drama queen - you gotta have one in every family.
She is so cute.

Maddux - mid-yawn.
He is the biggest one of the gang.
He is a cuddler and just precious.
I feed him every time I go over there.
We have bonded.

Jenny taking Maddux to get his diaper changed - and change his clothes.
He peed through his diaper and clothes were wet.
Little Luce.
She was the culprit for the early delivery - she had a blood clot in her placenta.
The plan was for the doctor to get her out first, and when he tried she slid back where he couldn't reach her. She ended up being the last one out.
Luce is the laid back one of the three.

Nola with Jill.

Rick, the MRI guy, holding Nola.
She was all smiles with Rick.

Julianne, Dr. Elrod's nurse practitioner, holding Maddux.

Chasity with Luce.
Chasity is Dr. Elrod's nurse and worked along side Stephen.
Chasity could not get enough of Luce!

They were so good the entire time - which is amazing because they were passed around a lot. They slept all the way home until 3 minutes out - then it was definitely apparent that it had been about 5 hours since they had eaten. When we got home, they guzzled down their bottles in no time.

They are so happy and so sweet. I love hanging out with them.

Keep up the good work, Jenny! You are doing a great job!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Few More "Unbelievables" to Add to the List...

If you recall early on I made a short list of "unbelievables" at the end of a post. It may become a tradition on the blog because I think years from now it will be fun to look back on...

Top Ten Unbelievables...(in no particular order).
1. After tomorrow, Stephen only has two weeks left in his first semester. UNBELIEVABLE!
It has gone by so fast (for me, at least - he may think otherwise) - but he is quick to say that he still has a lot to do. He has a quiz in Physiology on Monday. His last week, he has class on Monday and Tuesday, then finals Wednesday through Friday. Unfortunately, he will be responsible for material covered on the last Monday and Tuesday on the finals. He is ONLY covering four chapters (probably about 50 pages in the textbook) in Physiology TWO DAYS before the final. NO BIG DEAL!

2. Stephen's last day of finals is my first day of school. Perfect timing.
That's right only 15 more days until I start back at school. I officially have to report on August 10th (11 days from now). However, I have to set up a new classroom (because I am moving from second to third grade), I will go back this Monday to start the process (4 days). Four days left of summer bliss. Unbelievable.
My sister is graduating from Nurse Practitioner School at Vanderbilt on Sunday. My mom is flying in tomorrow to attend her graduation and going to stay the entire week to help me with my classroom. It will be so nice because I will need all the help I can get. I have a to-do list a mile long.

3. I got my wisdom teeth out a couple of weeks ago. It has to be one of the easiest wisdom teeth extraction stories ever. And I am very proud to say that! I only had two and they were on the top. According to my dentist, top wisdom teeth give patients less trouble than the bottom ones. To make things even easier, they had already come in, so the dentist was able to do the procedure without putting me to sleep and without cutting or stitches.
I left my house at 7:15 am and walked back in my door at 8:00 am. Unbelievable!
I was eating a hamburger that night - even more unbelievable. I'll stop because I realize I am now bragging.

4. Two days after I got my wisdom teeth out - I scheduled to take the Millers Analogy Test (MAT) at Lipscomb University. It is an entrance exam for graduate school. Needless to say, I was freaking out about the test because it covered material from famous artists, authors, scientists, and musicians to U.S. presidents, wars, science topics, and maybe one question about math. And did I mention they were all analogies? Example of an analogy: MAT is to unbelievably hard as Jill is to failing. Here's a little more background: I never took U.S. history, the only books I read are children's books - not novels about Existentialism in Kafka's Metamorphosis (I only remember that because I had to write an essay on that in high school) - and if I had to choose a favorite part of a standardized test it would be the math section - which there might have been one question out of the entire 120. In fact, my example analogy is probably completely incorrect. And the test would not use the words "unbelievably hard" or "failed" - it would be vocabulary words no one has ever seen before except Matt Hardison (no offense, Matt). Oh yes - I must not forget the other reason why I was freaking out. The first time I took one of the practice tests in the book (without studying - just to see how I would do), I scored a 50%. Obviously, I needed to do some major studying. After learning almost 500 vocabulary words and trying to memorize random facts about everything, I took 5 or 6 more of the practice tests. On ALL 5 or 6 of the practice tests I took, I never achieve over a 50%. In other words, my studying was counter productive. U.n.b.e.l.i.e.v.a.b.l.e.
I took the test and passed. Not by a whole lot, but that doesn't even matter.
I will be starting graduate school at Lipscomb University this fall. I will be getting my masters in Leadership or Administration - I am unsure of the official title. By completing this masters, I will have the credentials to become a principal.
It will be interesting teaching a brand new grade and starting school all at the same time.

5. Even though he would probably never admit it, I think Stephen really loves what he is learning about in school. Yes, I think it is official - my husband is an anatomy nerd! The whole time I thought I was married to this jock - NOPE - a nerd. UnBeLiEvAblE.
When we went out for our anniversary, we ordered dessert. Before it came out, I looked at Stephen and said "I am way too full to eat dessert." He goes into an huge explanation about how stomachs have different sections...and I didn't understand anything after that. NERD.
While I was in Indiana, I called him one night to see how he was doing - and he seemed peppy on the phone. That was weird because he hates talking on the phone. It was because he got to dislocate a hip in the anatomy lab that afternoon. I think he was one of the students that initiated the entire event - and he got to help the anatomy teacher pull the leg across the body and then cut away at some of the muscle to cause the hip to dislocate. He said you could see so much stuff by doing that. What a nerd!
It is almost impossible to get Stephen to do anything other than study - but he found out that Dr. Elrod was doing a Extra-Articular Tenodesis of the IT Band with ACL Revision with Allograft with Bilateral Meniscal Repairs - a.k.a. - a three hour surgery where the knee is partly exposed. He had to go and see this. I couldn't believe he took 3 hours from studying ON A TEST DAY - But he loves that kind of stuff. I'm telling you - he is a nerd.

6. It has been almost a month now - but Steve McNair's passing definitely reached UNBELIEVABLE status in our house. Stephen was pretty upset about the whole incident, as all Nashvillians. Stephen's first year of working with the Titans as an Athletic Training Intern during Training Camp in college was Steve McNair's last season with the Titans. According to Stephen, he was an awesome guy and very friendly to everyone. He was very appreciative of the Athletic Training Staff and treated people like they were best buds. To lighten the mood after hearing about his death, I said "Your signed Steve McNair jersey will be worth a lot!" His reply, "We are not selling it!" Needless to say, he was in no mood for jokes. To hear someone die in such a way is really unbelievable.

7. The other night Stephen and I were trying to figure out what his average was in Physiology. You know what it's like when finals are near - you are trying to see how much you are really going to have to study for the final based on your current average - or sometimes you realize that you need a divine intervention if you ever want to pass the class. By the way, the task of figuring out his average was way above 3rd grade math. Because quizzes counted for so much percent and test counted a different percent. It was quite the process. Stephen is going into finals with a very solid average, which will make finals a little less stressful. And this is a course two months ago, he thought he would never pass. UNbelievABLE. I am not sure why he even figured out his average because it won't change the way he studies.
Studying Side Note: I met up with him at Trevecca for dinner on a Sunday before Physiology Test on that Monday. I walk in the room where he was studying and he had written (in his itty bitty handwriting) all over the white boards around the room. He had a picture of the kidney and they way it worked. There was so much writing crammed on those boards. It was unbelievable. He's been begging me to go to school and pick up some dry erase markers for him - now I know why. I am not going to make fun of his studying habits because they work!

8. Two weeks ago, a friend that lived near me in Germany (I moved to Germany in 7th grade and lived their till I graduated from high school) sent me a message on Facebook to say that he was coming in town for the NAMM (National something Music something?) Convention in Nashville. He was a year below me in school, but our grades were so small that everyone kind of knew everyone. We both played basketball and our teams would travel together. Since we lived close we road the bus together and carpooled from school (we couldn't drive in Germany - I road the bus as a senior in high school - pretty cool). We were pretty good friends. His name is Michael Bustamante, but we all called him "Busta."
By the way, I was shocked because none of my friends from Germany have ever come to Nashville because they all live in the north and northeast. We got in contact with each other and met up for dinner with his dad and brother that were with him for the Convention. The reason they came to the Convention was because his dad has become an entrepreneur. He invented/ developed something called the "Case Brace" and he is trying to sell nationally and internationally. If you open a guitar case and stand it upright, you can slip the "Case Brace" in the crease of the case and set your guitar in it upright and it acts as a stand. I am not a guitar player but it sounded cool. Regardless, it was fun catching up with him and hearing what was new going on in his life. And we definitely reminisced about the days in Deutschland. We had dinner downtown and went to Wildhorse after. Even though he doesn't listen to country music, they were shocked by the talent of the band. They were amazed by all the life music - even all the people walking around. They live near Detroit - and according to them - it has become a complete ghost town. In downtown Detroit either all the store windows are boarded up or the windows are broken.
Busta couldn't believe I was married and that I had a southern accent. I suppose some things have changed. It was unbelievable seeing a friend from Germany. I loved showing him Nashville - and I was super excited that he loved it here.
Me and Mike at Wildhorse

9. Stephen and I decided when we went out for our anniversary that in the summer of 2012 - the summer after he graduates from PA school - approximately 35 months from now - we are going on a big vacation somewhere. It is going to be unbelievable! And we are inviting anyone who wants to come with us. We are thinking an all-inclusive, beachy spot - since we had such good luck with the same kind of thing on our honeymoon. We are letting everybody know early, so that you can start saving NOW. That way there will be no excuses 35 months from now!

10. Last but not least - FINALLY - a note card update...
I took this picture about 4 hours ago, so it is no longer accurate. He has probably added about fifty to this pile since then. I put my life at risk taking this photo. If these piles would have fallen over - I would have been sleeping on the couch tonight.
Physiology Note Cards on the left.
Anatomy Note Cards on the right.

I had to take a picture of this. This is what he uses to separate his note cards into chapters. He draws block numbers on a red card. It just seems funny to me - I have no clue why. And I should have taken a picture of his block number 4 - it's a good one. Maybe next time.
11. I leave you with a bonus for all you Bachlorette Lovers out there...Jillian chose Ed over REED!!! Unbelievable. I felt a little better about Ed after the rose ceremony show - but STILL. Reed was the much better catch! And I have to admit - I almost had to stop eating dinner when I watched how much Jillian and Ed were kissing each other on the couch - EVEN while Chris was trying to ask them questions. That had to be awkward for him. Well, I'm ready for the next season - I love drama - when it has nothing to do with me! I'm really thinking Scott Cagle (Julie's brother) should be the NEXT BACHELOR!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

One Year Ago...

One year ago today, on July 19, 2008, Stephen and I said these words to each other...
I promise to accept my responsibility as your husband/wife.
I will be faithful always only to you.
I give my soul enthusiastically to our relationship.
I ask that God may bless you and our marriage with faith, with hope, and with love.
I accept you with all my heart as my spouse from this day forward.
May God keep me true to this vow.

I give you this ring because I love you.
Please wear this ring because you love me.
May this love always complete you, and may this love make us one.

I was able to chisel out an evening slot from Stephen's studying schedule. That's saying a lot because he has a Physiology Test tomorrow. We celebrated the occasion with dinner at Fleming's. It was probably our first date in about 5 or 6 months. I can imagine the shock on your face - but Stephen and I love to go out with friends, we have been extremely busy, etc. And honestly, the last thing I ever want to do after a week of work is get all dolled up and go somewhere fancy. I really just love getting in sweats, ordering pizza, and calling it a night. But after getting all dressed up (Stephen even painted my toenails as I was drying my hair because I was running late) holding hands, and laughing together last night - we were giddy like we just started dating - we realized that we should probably have date nights more often. It was the perfect celebration and the food was amazing.

365 days of love
52 weeks of happiness
12 months of dreams
1 year of a beautiful marriage.

That is what the card I gave him says - but let's be honest - it was my first year of teaching as well.
So the more appropriate version...
365 days of being a shoulder to cry on
52 weeks of being an ear to listen
12 weeks of being a mouth of encouragement
1 year of being a rock to lean on.
And I can't believe you stuck it out...

I couldn't have made it through this year without him.
I am so thankful and blessed.

Happy Anniversary, Stephen.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I didn't know there was an Indianapolis 500 in July too...

This is the best way to describe my weekend. Fasten your safety belt - it's a long ride. No pun intended.
I absolutely love going to the Indy 500 in Indianapolis on Memorial Day weekend. It is thrilling to watch. The speed is incredible - the only way to appreciate it is by attending in person. And believe it or not, watching cars go around a track hundreds of times never gets boring. I have to admit that the wrecks keep it entertaining. When wrecks happen, the yellow flag is waived until the track is clear.

I thought my trip to Indiana would be typical - family reunion - we do it every year. Just like the 500, I love to go. I get to hang out with family that I only see once a year. But there were a few wrecks and thus yellow flags that made it a little more interesting.

I am taking awhile to get to the meat of this post. I am trying to build suspense. Is it working? Good, because now you are getting the feel of what the Indy 500 is like before the race starts; I am setting the mood.
-- Side Note: I am giggling to myself right now because I can envision you shaking your head and thinking "Get on with it...I need to fold my clothes in the dryer! - OR - This better be good!"
The green flag was waived Tuesday night when my Uncle Kevin (my mom's brother) arrived in Nashville from Atlanta. The plan was for him to drive up Tuesday night, spend the night at our place, and take my car (his is becoming unreliable) up to Indiana Wednesday morning. Over the weekend, my car had a small billow of smoke coming out of the hood. We thought it was the air conditioner - but long story short - we couldn't take it to get fixed until Tuesday and it actually needed a new compressor - yep, the kind that costs a grand - NO BIG DEAL!
Anyways, we were promised it would be ready by Tuesday evening, so we could still take it to Indiana. Nope. Then, we were promised it would be ready by Wednesday morning by 8 am. Perfect. My uncle Kevin and I would go get it before we left for Indiana. We showed up at 8 am to find that the mechanic just started on it and it wouldn't be ready until 11:30 or 12.
Yellow Flag #1.

Shortly after, we called my mom to tell her of the delay to find out that my granddad was taken to the emergency room Tuesday night. He couldn't lift his leg to get into bed (their bed is way too high for their age - my grandma-Doris has to use a step stool - "Here's your sign!"), so he sat on the floor because he didn't know what else to do - and then couldn't get up. My grandmother decided to call 911 because she is incapable of helping him.

Another Yellow Flag.

When EMS arrived, they had to wait 20 minutes for my grandma-Doris to put on her clothes. My parents were already in Indiana and met up with them at the hospital. By the time they got to the hospital, my granddad was able to walk out of the EMS truck into the Emergency Room. They ran tests and could find nothing wrong with him - other than his blood sugar was a little high. He was sent home but told he needed to see his primary care physician the next morning.

Back to Green.

After picking up my car and grabbing lunch in Nashville, we headed north for Indiana. While we were driving - my dad was taking my granddad to the doctor. Unfortunately as the day progressed, my granddad was getting worse and worse. Thus, my dad's mission was to get him admitted in the hospital. After completing different scans, my granddad could hardly walk - and when he was admitted - he had to be taken in a wheelchair.

Yellow Flag #3.

My dad called me as we were getting closer to Bloomington to let me know that they admitted him and he wanted me to stop by to see him that night.
When we arrived, my granddad was very weak and unable to hold a conversation (even about farming or the weather - crazy!). There were a lot of personnel in the room trying to draw his blood, so we kept the visit short and sweet. I hugged and kissed him goodbye thinking that could be the last time I saw him. This was really unbelievable because less than 48 hours earlier my granddad was on the farm driving an 18 wheeler truck. He is in great shape for an 80 year old man.

HUGE crash on the track, Yellow Flag #4.

My parents have a house out in the country very near where my Uncle Doug (my dad's brother), Dad, and Granddad own land and farm. We call it the "Farm House" - that is where we all stay when we come in town. Because we are there so little I am always a little apprehensive at first. I think there will be spiders in the bed when I lift the sheets, its very dark at night, different smells... With those thoughts in my head in addition to my granddad in the hospital (Did I mention I hate hospitals?) and Stephen not there - I tossed and turned in bed for hours the first night - my mind and heart racing. I have never had a sleeping problem like that before, but I was legitimately freaked out. At one point, something motioned one of the landscape lights on outside my window, I was convinced someone was coming in and they were going to kill me. By the way, I was sweating in bed because I had to be under the covers (safer). I would have gone across the hall to where my Uncle Kevin was sleeping - but was too scared to walk 10 steps. It was the weirdest thing in the world.

Yellow Flag #5 - more for the people around me.

The following day (Thursday), I went with my dad to the hospital to check on my granddad. He was a new man - even though they still had no clue what was wrong with him - other than he probably had an infection (he had a temperature). He was talkative, ready to go home, lifting his legs in the air... He remembered I came by the night before with my Uncle Kevin - which surprised me because I thought for sure he had no clue. The nurse came in with his lunch and suggested that he try and get up and sit in his chair to eat. The nurse was ready to assist, but my granddad popped right up and walked over and sat in his chair without help - the nurse was shocked.

Back to a Green Flag.

We stopped by my Grandma-Doris' house to see if she was okay and then back to the Farm House to visit with my Great Aunt Doris (my mom and Uncle Kevin's aunt on my grandmother's side). We had Mexican for dinner and Dairy Queen for dessert. Then we headed over to the grocery store to get food for the reunion. While checking out we found out there was "pig wrestlin'" at the Owen County Fair that night. Just to make it clear - this town is old, country, and hick/red-neck. My dad who is an old, country, red-neck at heart had to go! We walked through the 4-H barns and saw all the entries for just about everything. I found out that my mom won Reserve Grand Champion for her Angel Food Cake that she made from a box - Seriously? Way to go, Mom. And another surprise, I thought when they said "pig wrestlin'" - they meant putting two pigs in a pen and watching them wrestle. Boy, was I wrong! "Pig wrestlin'" is when they put a kid in a pen with a pig and they go at it. All these kids of all ages were walking around covered in mud from head to toe. Some girls had shirts that said "Hot Mama Pig Wrestlers." Stepping foot into the fair was like stepping into a whole different world. It really is kind of like some of the people you see when you go to the Indy 500.

Green Flag remains.

Jocelyn, my sister, and Adam, my brother-in-law, came in town late Thursday night. My granddad was predicted to be released from the hospital Friday afternoon. Since Joce wasn't there yet to object, we delegated her to go to the hospital on Friday for those duties - my mom went with her. After waiting for a few hours, my granddad was released. Kevin and I were already in the area because he wanted to stop by my grandparents' graves (his and my mom's parents). Where they are buried is the same place as my great-grandparents (my grandpa's parents) and great uncle. Kevin explained when they died and stories like this one... my great-grandfather died when Joce was only about 1 or 2 and when they got to the funeral home, my sister said "he's aseepin' in da bed" referring to my deceased great-grandfather in his coffin. It was really interesting to be there and hear stories - I even have some possible names for children.

Green Flag continues.
I got the call shortly after we left the cemetery that it was official - my granddad could go home even though he wasn't feeling quite as good as the day before. Kevin and I were to meet Joce, my mom, granddad at his house to help get him in the house. When they arrived, my granddad was very weak. He was unable to move his legs out of the car. My uncle basically lifted him out of the car - my grandfather was dead weight. Once he was standing, we put a walker in front of him. He was able to move, but it was like his brain was having to tell his legs to move. It was really weird. By the time we got him to his chair, he was completely out of breath. He had to turn to sit down - but his legs wouldn't move. My uncle basically had to move him himself. So basically what I am trying to say is ... THANK GOODNESS my uncle was there. There is no way my mom, sister, and I could have ever got him in the house. Needless to say, we were all thinking "how can he stay here alone?" I was just shocked (not sure why because his body has been so unpredictable thus far) that he could hardly walk since we was walking fine in the hospital the day before.

Yellow Flag #6. Bummer.

Thirty minutes later, my granddad pipes up and says, "I need to go to the bathroom." We all shrugged a little based on thirty minutes before. My uncle helped him out of his chair, but he insisted on us not helping him to the bathroom. He got their on his own, went, and came back in 5 minutes. It was amazing. He zipped down the hallway with no problems. We all looked at each other and laughed because we couldn't believe the turn around. It became evident that we never knew what was going to happen to him from one moment to the next. Before we left for dinner, he was getting out of his chair on his own and not even using the walker around the house.

Short-lived Yellow Flag - thank goodness - And back to Green.
Saturday, we went to our family reunion on my mom's side - The Fleetwood's. My great-grandparents (the ones I mentioned earlier) had four kids (actually six - but two died at a young age). Only two of the four are still living - but we still get together each year. We eat lots of good food, play cards, sometimes swim, and just talk.

Green Flag.

- The Fleetwood Cousins -
These are the children of the four Fleetwood kids.
My Uncle Kevin is the guy in the pink shirt, in the middle, in the back.
And my mom has her eyes closed in the front.

After the reunion, we changed quickly and went straight to my dad's cousin's daughter's wedding. Her ceremony was in the same church where her parents were married - pretty neat. Then, the reception was at the Bloomington Convention Center. Emily, the bride, had cupcakes as her wedding cake. I knew this was always an option - but first time I have seen someone do it. She had a stretch-Excursion or Escalade take them, their wedding party, and her grandparents to the reception. It was awesome. It was a lot of fun seeing cousins and family we hadn't seen in awhile - and the food and dancing were great.

Green Flag.

My brother-in-law and sister at the wedding.

My dad and mom.

AND... Stephen and Me.
Well, me at the wedding with my imaginary husband.
Stephen couldn't make it to Indiana because of school.
My dad insisted that I post this picture because he thinks it's hilarious.

My granddad's brother and his wife. I didn't get a picture of my granddad but he looks very similar to his brother. They were the grandparents of the bride. They have been married for 59 years - they beat out another couple on the dance floor during the anniversary dance by one year.
All the wedding guests sang "Happy Birthday" to my great-aunt Marcela - she turned 89 that day. She is the widow to one of my granddad's brothers. There were eight brothers.

Sunday morning, we went to my Uncle Doug and Aunt Rhonda's (my dad's brother and his wife) church to support them as they were becoming deacons. Then, we headed to their house that afternoon for a cook out with family to see Chad and Sarah (my cousin and his wife) off to Arizona. They are moving because Chad got a new job down there. And my granddad felt able to come and join - so that was good news.
It was a great weekend, but their was definitely some suspense along the way with my grandfather's health - you never knew what to expect from day to day or hour to hour or even minute to minute - just like the 500. Unfortunately, they are still unknown about what really was wrong with him. He went back to the doctor last Tuesday and they told him to do whatever he feels like - well that was the green light for him to go to the farm. By last Wednesday, he was back out at the farm - he told my dad that he just had to get out there to set his coon traps around his crops and feed his catfish. I talked to him the other day and he was telling me that he caught three fish in his pond. These are all really good signs. His strength is not completely back but he is getting there.
There was other excitement throughout the weekend, which I have saved for last. My cousin Chad and his wife Sarah are having a baby! The Dyer family is very excited as this will be the first child from our generation and the first great-grandchild. And since Chad is the only boy cousin - he is the only one who can keep the Dyer name alive. My aunt Rhonda was probably the most excited as she was telling everyone the whole weekend - "I am going to be a grandma!" They told us all on Friday night when we went to Outback. Sarah gave Letha (Chad's sister) and Doug (Chad's dad) a present. It was a wrapped picture frame of the baby's first (and probably only because they don't want to know the sex of the child) ultrasound. Rhonda didn't get one because she had guessed that they were a while back. My Uncle Doug had no clue what it was and neither did my granddad. My grandma-Doris, on the other hand, noticed immediately and her jaw dropped. I was sitting inbetween Sarah and my grandmother. I was leaning forward and my grandma-Doris says, "Jill, can you move so I can see Sarah?" We now know who is the favorite!

A quick cousin shot before we left for Nashville.
Adam, Joce, Me, Sarah, Letha (in the back), and Chad.

And as far as I'm concerned - I only need to experience the Indy 500 once a year - not twice.

Checkered Flag is waived...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Behind Already...

But determined to check up in one post.

I am leaving for Otter Creek's Camp tomorrow. When I return I will be in camp blogging mode, not catch-up-on-the-last-few-weeks blogging mode. Therefore, I must fill in the gap now before I leave for camp.

Even though I have largely only mentioned Stephen's progress through school, we actually do other things, I promise.

A couple of weeks ago, Blake and Julie let us watch their dog, Bo, for a long weekend.

Blake and Julie are some of our best friends. Blake and Stephen have known each other since they were 7 or 8 years old or in other words for almost 20 years. You could say they are like brothers...well no "like" about it...they are brothers. They find each other absolutely hilarious, can stay on the phone for 20 minutes talking about nothing - but laughing about their nothingness the entire time, have tendencies to engage in yelling wars - even through text messages, reminisce on the past 2o years on a regular basis - laughing about the same stories over and over again, can play the church hymn game for hours on end (if you are ever get bored in the car and know all the old hymns - we have the game for you!) sum this up they basically joke about everything all the time. As you can imagine, Julie and I had no choice but to be good friends too. Luckily, it worked out because I definitely need someone to endure all these moments thank you, Julie.

I just thought I should give you a little insight on our friendship with Blake and Julie, since I am sure they will be mentioned often.

Back to Bo...AND...Here he is:

He loved putting our socks or shirts in his mouth. It was so funny!

I probably should not share this story because I will NEVER be asked to dog-sit or even baby-sit again, but I don't want to forget this incident.

Blake and Julie have a backyard and let Bo out to "do his business" without a leash. Then, on walks (when on a leash), he trots along - never needing to "pop a squat." This was completely new to me due to previous experiences with Stephen's parents' dog, Snickers. A walk for him consists of a 400 meter stretch (I ran track - this is how I compute distances) that takes 45 minutes because of Snickers huge desire to "grace" every tree along the way. With Bo, I was able to go at a great pace and actually get some exercise.

Because we don't have a yard, we would take him out on his leash (he was thinking he was getting a walk at 10 pm) to use the restroom - but he would NEVER go.

On Saturday, I picked him up early afternoon because it was so hot outside (All you dog owners are probably thinking dogs can hack it - but remember - he isn't our dog and we did NOT want him to have a heat stroke on OUR watch). We took him out the rest of that day- on his leash, of course - to pee and even on a walk - but he never "went" for the rest of the day. Finally, at 6 the next morning, Bo is scratching on our door and crying a little. I woke up and thought "this dog has to be about to explode" - so without even trying to take him out on his leash at our house - we got in the car and went over to Blake and Julie's backyard. When we got to their house, it took all I had to keep hold of his leash. I let him in his backyard - he sniffed for a nanosecond - and relieved himself for a good 30 - 45 seconds. Yes, I watched the entire time in amazement.

Needless to say that afternoon when we went on a walk (we were headed to their backyard so he could pee), he peed on his leash within 5 minutes. There I stood, joyfully repeating "good Bo, good Bo, good dog, way to go, Bo!" with a group of other dog-walkers around observing the situation. They had to be thinking, " Wow, lady, he is just peeing!" Too bad after this amazing discovery by Bo, he went home 12 hours later.

I have to say, I can see why people view dogs as great companions - within days Bo was following us around the house. I loved it - but we are not getting a dog in the near future, Stephen. Just had to make that clear, publicly.

Another visitor just less than 24 hours after Bo left was...

Our Niece - Katie Grace

I think she is about 7 months old in these pictures.

A proud aunt...

To give you a little perspective of what she looked like the last time we saw her at Christmas...

Andy, Rachel, and Katie Grace were only here for a very short time. We were so lucky they even stopped by considering all the people they needed to see all across the country. They live in California and drove from California to Texas to Arkansas to Tennessee to Kentucky just to make sure Katie Grace saw all her family (even a Great-Grandmother). Unbelievable. Really unbelievable with an infant in tow.

Stephen, Whitney (Stephen's cousin who lives in Nashville came over), and I were able to hold her, feed her, play with her, listen to all her noises, and she even fell asleep in my arms.

She is so sweet and lovable.

If she only lived closer...Hint, Hint, Nudge, Nudge...Andy and Rachel. =)

I'll leave you with a few other notable "unbelievables" from this past week...

1. Michael Jackson - "King of Pop" DIED. Unbelievable.

2. Stephen passed all his tests this past week with flying colors. U-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-e-a-b-l-e.

3. Jillian, the Bachlorette, kept Wes on for ANOTHER week. Unbelievable.

4. This post has gone on for far too long. Unbelievable!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day


Here are a few reasons why I feel so blessed to be called your daughter:

1. You always loved and supported mom. You showed Jocelyn and me what a good marriage looks like.

2. You were not afraid to be firm with me. It made me feel more secure and cared about.

3. You taught me the value of a dollar, the importance of saving, and the rewards of giving back to God.

4. You taught me the importance of family and the small things in life. I will never forget the words we grew up hearing, "Girls, it doesn't get any better than this." I noticed that you only used that phrase when we were all together as a family and enjoying each other - not when we enjoyed anything of monetary value.

5. Despite all my mistakes - you forgave me. Through those mistakes, you showed me first-hand God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

6. You didn't protect me from consequences - you taught me that I needed to learn the painful way sometimes.

7. Everything you promised, you fulfilled. Thank you for never letting me down.

8. You were always consistent. You never confused me or made me lose faith in you.

9. You provided lots of love and understanding.

10. You showed me the benefits of hard work and the importance of commitment - whether we hate what we are doing or not.


Stephen is becoming more like you daily. I joke with him about it on a regular basis and he always says, "If I am half the husband to you that my dad is to my mom, I am perfectly okay with becoming like my dad." As a wife, it is hard to express what it means to know that her husband was raised by such a great father and husband to his mother.

In addition, I cannot thank you enough for treating and loving me as if I was one of your own. You have already taught me so many things I have treasured.

To the greatest men in the world, we are indebted to you forever for all the things you have taught us.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Jill and Stephen

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Could be the Host of "The Bachlorette"

...Three weeks of school down, two packages of Fun-Sized Butterfinger Crisps down the hatch, close to twenty or more strawberry smoothies savored, and over a thousand notecards later... Stephen is gearing up for his toughest week yet.

I sound like Chris Harrison on "The Bachlorette" when he ends EVERY show saying, "We'll see you next week to witness the hardest rose ceremony in Bachlorette history..." Initially, I think "I can't wait!" But really, no week is any different than the last. There is always something big - but it is TV, of course, there is going to be something dramatic each week. But I have to admit I love the drama- so I can't really throw the show under the bus.

I may sound like Chris, but I am actually for real when I say, "Next week may be the hardest week in the history of the Hasselbring household."
Starting tomorrow, Stephen has an Anatomy written test. On Friday, an Anatomy Lab Test. Then, on Monday, a Physiology Test. Papers due the next two days and another test in Research on Thursday. Phew. I am done. Breathe.

Just in case you wondered what it looks like after studying for 10 plus hours on a Saturday for three different tests - here you go.

[This is posed, but I promise you this is what he really looked like when I walked in the room. He moved before I could get the picture, so I made him pose.]
It is 10:30 pm as I write this and Stephen is still at school studying. Luckly, he has found some people he really studies well with - which makes studying more bearable.
Oddly enough, I think Stephen is more prepared for this week than I am. I am just a nervous wreck. I feel quite useless, so I just pray.
"How will the Hasselbring household handle the week ahead? Stayed tuned to our blog to find out."
Until then, best of luck to Stephen and all his PA school study buddies.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Will there be a class on handwriting?

Stephen has definitely found a method that works for him when it comes to studying. I am actually saying that with great pride because it is not even a month into school. I am thankful I am not typing that sentence a year from now. I would be slightly afraid for his patients, if that were the case.

But have no fear future patients out there! Stephen has discovered notecards - and lots of them. I think it would be smart for us to buy stock in whatever company makes notecards - at least for the next two years. They won't go under - I guarantee it.

When he studies, he reads a chapter and highlights important information. Then, he goes back and writes the highlighted information on notecards. Some notecards even have pictures. He can draw a brachial plexus like none other - I don't even know what that is!

After three weeks of school, here are all the notecards (These are excluding his Netter's Anatomoy Cards).

The only problem with the notecards is that only Stephen, and I mean ONLY Stephen can read them. To give you an indicator of how bad his handwriting really is - I am an elementary school teacher and I read lots of not bad (I don't want to be negative towards my students), but developing handwriting. Let's just say, I have good practice, and I still struggle with reading his handwriting. The combination between the itty-bitty size and the incomplete formations of the letters can ensure a really bad headache.

We quickly discovered after only quizzing him on his notecards twice - that I was more of a hinderance when I helped him than a benefit.

I would think that if you were standing in the room it would be quite humorous. I would try to sound out the scientific word on the front, but not say it correctly. Stephen would correct me and immediately start listing the information on the back of the card. He would finish and I would still be deciphering the first word on the back of the card. Since I basically missed everything he said because I was deep in "deciphering mode" in my brain, I would go back and make him list everything again. Needless to say, he stopped asking me to quiz him. And rightfully so. I'm thinking he decided that our marriage was far more important.

Just so I don't sound like a horrible wife (Stephen has already decided that this blog is for husband bashing), I will go ahead and give you another indicator of how bad Stephen's handwriting is...

On Stephen's first day of work at Elite, Dr. Elrod was reading some notes Stephen had written on a piece of paper. He turned to him when he finished and said, "Steve, we have plenty of paper here at Elite, you don't have to write so small."

Dr. Elrod even mentioned when Stephen left Elite in May, "Maybe they (PA school) will teach you how to write."

Then, just last week, a friend of mine needed her husband to see Dr. Elrod. After their visit, she sent me a message on Facebook. In the message, she explained that she was told to relay a message to Stephen by his old co-workers that "they found somebody who can write."

So for the record, I am not the only one "bashing" out there. For some reason it's okay though when other people do it. Weird how that works!

Bad handwriting or not, I am so proud of Stephen's dedication and the hard work he has put into the notecards and school so far.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Second - First Post

Let me translate the title. About an hour ago, I finished my very first post - I was actually really proud of myself, so I tramped upstairs to read it to Stephen (who was studying, of course). I read it to him, made a few changes, and pressed "publish post" to find out that I did not have internet access. What does that mean? My very first post was deleted and I had to rewrite everything.

I was mad.

Stephen was laughing.

So here is my second-first post below:

Welcome to our blog!

It is official. We have done it. We have stepped into the 21st century and have a blog. Many of you (the two people that know this blog exists) are thinking finally; we have had one for years.

For me, this blog means more than just "being up with the times." It means I can finally check "create a blog" off my to-do list. (I really relate to Kupono Aweau, a dancer from "So You Think You Can Dance.") I am a to-do list queen, so today is a great day!

A short disclaimer about our blog. I am writing this blog for myself. (Let's be honest, Stephen could care less.) I am determined to keep up with our lives - especially now that Stephen is in school. I am convinced that if I do not document it - it will be forgotten. I have proof that such things do happen. I was talking to my mom the other day about the years my dad was getting his MBA shortly after they got married. She concluded the conversation by saying, "I don't remember much about those days - I don't know how we got through it all."
I refuse to let that happen to us and would hate to have to say those same words.
In fact, I can't wait for 26 1/2 months (it has only been a few weeks and I am already counting down, YES, I REALIZE) from now. We will be able to look back and marvel at our accomplishments and, probably even, laugh at how we got through it all.
And honestly, I want our kids to have proof that we actually had a life before they came along. [My short disclaimer became never-ending.] My point is that I am not a good writer and not very funny, so I apologize if I do not entertain you. Like I said earlier, I am doing this for me (a.k.a. - I am selfish!) This is the best way for me to keep up with our everyday lives.

Oh yes, I can't forget! I am also doing this for Stephen's parents. I think I am pretty accurate when I say they find things out about a month late. Mind you, it is because I call every once in a while to keep them somewhat informed, not Stephen. So here's to you, Dennis and Diane. This blog will keep you in "The Know-Hassel Zone" on a regular, immediate basis. I am not so selfish after all, right?

Thank you, Moriah Farmer, for formatting/designing our blog. I love it!

Looking forward to continually adding to our story...